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How to make a shower curtain from a sheet

Okay, you’ve waited patiently and I’m finally back to show you how I made my flat sheet into a shower curtain!  As promised, I will offer two versions of this project: a no-sew version and a sewn version.  Whenever possible, I will offer no-sew alternatives to my “sewing” projects because I really want to show you that make-it-yourself home decor projects don’t always require a sewing machine or sewing skills.  There are many products available at your average craft store today that make no-sew projects more possible than ever before.

First, why go through the hassle of converting a sheet to a shower curtain when you can just buy one already made?

  1. Because it can save you money.  Shower curtains, in my experience, are generally expensive and more than I am interested in paying for something whose primary purpose is to look pretty while keeping the water inside the shower.
  2. Because it opens up a whole range of possibilities for color and design.  When you’re limited to only shopping the shower curtain isle for a shower curtain, the options are few and often times disappointing.  When you open that search up to the bedding isle too, your options skyrocket!
  3. Just because.  We don’t need excuses to get crafty around here. (:

Now that I’ve convinced you, here are some tips for finding that perfect sheet to convert into a shower curtain:

  1. Though a shower curtain could be made out of any size sheet, a twin sheet requires the least amount of work.  It is the perfect width, meaning that the only thing that requires adjustment is the height.
  2. Look carefully at the type of fabric your sheet is made from.  Most shower curtains are made from polyester, which resists mildew and wrinkles.  Most sheets, however, are made from cotton.  Though it’s possible to use a cotton sheet as a shower curtain, it is important to use it in conjunction with a plastic shower curtain liner, rather than a fabric one, to reduce the chances of it getting mildewy; as well, be prepared that it will require more ironing.  The curtain I chose for this project is 60% cotton/40% polyester.
  3. There are many places to find discounted flat sheets such as Marshalls and TJ Maxx, thrift shops, or even your own linen closet!  I am using a set of sheets that I purchased at Target for only $13.  However, we will only be using the flat sheet for this project, so if you can find an individually packaged flat sheet, that may be your most economical bet.

My $13 Twin Sheet Set from Target

Basic supply list for this project:

  1. one twin size flat sheet
  2. an iron
  3. a disappearing ink pen
  4. scissors or rotary cutter
  5. twelve large grommets and grommet setter
  6. A piece  of canvas fabric or 2 yds of 3/4″ twill tape
  7. for the sewn version, you will need matching thread
  8. for the no-sew version, you will need fusible hem tape, preferably home decor weight

Now, for the steps involved in making your shower curtain!

Step 1. Cutting your sheet.

To keep this project the most simple, I recommend keeping the side hems and bottom hem that already come with the sheet.  When you cut your sheet, I suggest cutting off the larger, top hem.

Use the manufactured bottom and side hems of the sheet

For the no-sew version of this project, I recommend cutting your sheet 73.5 inches long.  For the sewn version, cut sheet 74 inches long.  The finished length of both these version will be 71.5 inches long.  If you don’t have a cutting table like me, I recommend laying your sheet out on the floor, folding it in half lengthwise, and measuring with a tape measure from the bottom hem up.  Marking your cut lines works best with a disappearing ink pen, available at any craft store. Then, cut with a fabric scissors.  The remnant of fabric that you cut off from the sheet has many great possible uses, so don’t throw it away hastily.  It could make a great throw pillow or window valance!

Fold in half lengthwise and lay out on a flat surface

Cut your shower curtain to suggested length

Hold onto that extra fabric, because it could be used for a number of small projects

Step 2.  Cut a canvas strip 3/4″  wide and approximately 63.5″ long.  If you don’t have canvas or want to hassle with that, you can also use 3/4″ twill tape, available at most craft stores.  The purpose of this step, as we will see later, is to provide reinforcement where we will be adding our grommets.

Cut canvas strips or use 3/4" twill tape

If you are doing the sewn version of this project, you can now skip to step 5.  No-sew version people can continue to step 3.

Step 3. No-sew version.  Preparing your no-sew hem. Lay your sheet wrong side up out on an ironing board.  Lay out your canvas strip across the width of the sheet approximately 2″ from the raw edge.  Lay out your hem tape approximately 4″ from top.

Hem tape is a no-sew solution for this project

Lay out your canvas strips and hem tape

Step 4.  No-sew version.  Ironing your no-sew hem. Fold down raw edge, wrong sides together, approximately 2″, so that it overlaps the hem tape completely and your canvas strip is sandwiched flatly between the layers.  Iron according to hem tape package directions.  Finished product should be a 2″ hem done without a sewing machine!  Once complete, since your canvas strip is loosely sandwiched between the layers, I recommend using paper clips or pins to hold it in place until your grommets have been added.

Iron your fabric to the hem tape for a finished hem without a sewing machine

Hold in place with straight pins or paper clips

If you are doing the no-sew version of this project, you can now skip down to step 6.

Step 5. Sewn version.  Preparing and sewing your hem. Based on the cut length that I recommend in step 1, fold your raw edge down one inch first, then fold over another 1.5 inches, as pictured below.  Obviously, you can cut and sew your hem differently, if you like.  This is just a recommendation.  The following pictures will show you how I did my hem.  When you have finished sewing your hem, I recommend using paper clips or pins to hold it in place until your grommets have been added.

Fold your raw edge down one inch and iron

Fold your ironed edge down another 1.5 inches and iron again

Now open your hem back up again and lay your canvas strip or twill tape down along the second fold mark

Fold down again to completely overlap the canvas strip and hold in place with straight pins or paper clips

Sew your hem in place

Once you've finished your hem, pin or paper clip again to hold canvas strip in place

Now comes the fun part!  Grommets!  Grommets are a fun way to add function to so many projects and are accessible at any local craft store.  If you buy the starter kit, it comes with a couple basic tools that you will need to add them yourself and will have instructions on the package for how to do it.  To keep this tutorial as short and simple as possible, I’m going to offer a tutorial for installing grommets in another post next week, so stay tuned.  But, if you’re chomping at the bit to do your shower curtain before then, I recommend heading to your local craft store and grabbing a few packages of Dritz grommets.  Make sure you buy the starter set that comes with the installation tools that you will need and follow the installation instructions on the back of the package.  Before you know it, you will have a handmade shower curtain with a factory-finished look!

We'll add grommets to make our sheet function as a shower curtain

Now, for the finishing steps of our shower curtain, minus the grommet installation instructions.

Step 6.  Marking where you’ll put your grommets. I recommend using your shower curtain liner as a guide for measuring where to put grommets.  Lay your sheet out on a large flat surface, such as the floor, with the wrong side up.  Then, center your shower curtain liner on top of your sheet with the top of the liner lined up with the top of the hem you just made on the sheet.  When laid out, you will notice that the liner is slightly wider on both sides, as seen pictured below (I pictured it here with the sheet on top so that you could see the extra width of the liner more easily).  I recommend pining or paper clipping the sheet and the liner together at the center, as seen in the second picture below.

Your shower curtain liner will be wider than your sheet.

Clip the liner and the sheet together at the center point

To adjust for the extra width of the liner, pull in the extra liner fabric so that the side hem of the liner aligns with the side hem of the sheet on both sides, as seen pictured below.

Line up the side hems of the liner and the sheet

Then, with the sheet and liner still pinned or clipped together at the center, begin redistributing the extra curtain liner fabric on both sides of the center. There is no exact science to this, its just a matter of eye-balling it so that its as evenly distributed as possible.

Redistribute the extra liner fabric

(Some people, such as my left-brained sister, might prefer using math to determine where the grommets on their sheet should go.  If you prefer such a method, then measure out the total width of your sheet (which will vary slightly from sheet to sheet) and divide by twelve, the number of grommets that you will need, and go from there.  That kind of math requires too much brain power for me, so I prefer to do it as above.)

Now, using the grommets from your liner as your guide, use a disappearing pen to mark where your grommets will need to go on your sheet.  There are a couple of things to be very certain of while doing this: 1) Be sure that the top of your sheet aligns with the top of your liner and that your marks are all level; this will ensure that once hung, the top of the liner won’t stick out over the top of your sheet and that it will hang straight.  2) Remember that canvas strip that we added between the layers of our top hem earlier?  It is there to provide extra reinforcement for our grommets so they don’t tear through our lightweight sheets.  So, be sure that your grommet marks are centered well on that strip of canvas–you can’t see the canvas strip, but you should be able to feel where it is and make your marks accordingly.

Mark your sheet where your grommets will need to go

Again, I will do another tutorial on how to install grommets next week.  In the meantime, install your grommets according to the directions on the package if you don’t want to wait on me, making sure that the grommets are installed on the canvas strip for the extra reinforcement.  Once you’ve installed them, your finished product should resemble this.

The new shower curtain with grommets!

There is an alternative to grommets, if you don’t like the industrial look that they add.  If you have a sewing machine with a button hole function, you could add button holes instead.  I have done this before and like it equally as well.  Adding a canvas strip or twill tape between the layers of your top hem is still important to provide reinforcement for the button holes, but if done right, button holes work just as well as grommets and are far less noticeable.

A shower curtain made from a sheet that I made using button holes instead of grommets

My finished shower curtain is a little busier than I normally prefer for my home decor, but it’s works well in the boys’ bathroom.  The athletic theme is fitting for a male-dominated bathroom, and even more fitting since that bathroom smells like a locker room most days anyway. (:  As well, they helped me add the grommets and enjoyed taking part in its transformation.

My completed shower curtain

Hope that you’ve found inspiration to try this make-it-yourself project yourself.  If you ever choose to take on this challenge, be sure to share your end result with us!

4 Responses

  1. Janette says:

    This is a great idea… would love to make time to do it.

  2. This is more tidy than tangled!

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